West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses a press conference in Kolkata on may 15, 2019. Photo: Facebook/@MamataBanerjeeOfficial
‘Reducing campaigning by a day is an unethical and politically motivated move’, says Trinamool Congress chief
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday described the Election Commission of India’s decision to cut the campaigning in the State by a day as “unprecedented, unconstitutional, unethical and politically motivated” and accused the Commission of “working as per the instructions of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).”“Take whatever action against me which you feel like. Show cause me or send me to jail. But you cannot deprive voters and candidates of their rights,” a visibly angry Ms. Banerjee told journalists at a hurriedly called press conference at her residence.“You [EC] are working under the instruction of the BJP and Modi and Shah,” she alleged. The Trinamool Congress chairperson repeatedly asked why no action was taken against BJP president Amit Shah for the violence in Tuesday’s rally.“What does the EC think, they can make Modi win like this,” she said, urging all political parties in the Opposition to join in protest.Ms. Banerjee suggested that the EC’s decision came after a press conference by Mr. Shah earlier in the day and a delegation of BJP leaders, including Union Home Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, meeting the EC on Tuesday. “Didn’t Ms. Sitharaman demand that I should be stopped from campaigning … Amit Shah threatened the EC and this decision was taken,” she said.The Chief Minister said that she would advance all political rallies and road shows scheduled on Friday to Thursday. She was also upset at the transfer of the State’s Home Secretary Atri Bhattacharya and IPS officer Rajiv Kumar.“Why will the EC send someone on Central deputation? How can they do this,” she said, referring to Mr. Kumar’s transfer as ADG CID to the Union Home Ministry. “If you would like to show cause me or jail me, go ahead,” she said. She also accused the EC of “rewarding” Amit Shah.”They got people from outside in Amit Shah’s rally & broke the bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. They did the unethical thing and EC rewarded them.”Referring to the vandalism at Vidyasagar College and the bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar during Amit Shah’s rally Ms Banerjee said that people of the State will give a fitting reply to it during last phase of polling on May 19. She also urged voters all across country where elections are due in the last phase to defeat the BJP.